Airline Stocks, Battered by Coronavirus & Boeing 737 MAX, Plunge to Four-Year Low

Boeing got battered too but not nearly enough. Introducing my SADJAUS stock index tracking the 7 largest US airlines.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Boeing shares dropped 5.8% today, to $287.76, below where they’d been on that infamous December 24, 2018, and back to where they’d been on December 12, 2017. My only question to the market today is this: What took so long?

Boeing’s self-inflicted problems have been dissected to the nth degree – including how it blew, wasted, and incinerated $43 billion in cash on share buybacks in six years to inflate its share price via financial engineering instead of developing a new plane via aircraft engineering, and how it is now bleeding cash and loading tens of billions of dollars in new debt on its hollowed-out balance sheet just to survive its crisis caused by its own decisions, financial engineering, and failures (stock data via YCharts):

It’s beyond me how these shares could have skyrocketed to $440 by March 2019, just a few months after the first 737 MAX crashed under a cloud of suspicions, and on the eve of the second crash. But they did on the promise of endless financial engineering that Wall Street gorges on. Turns out, Wall Street despises actual engineering. And Boeing’s shares are still down only 20% from that ridiculous spike in March 2019.

The airlines – they were already operating in a rough environment  before any of this happened – were among the victims of Boeing’s shenanigans and financial engineering, getting slammed every step along the way because their 737 MAX planes were grounded, and because they couldn’t take delivery of their new planes, and because they didn’t have enough planes during peak travel season and had to cancel flights.

On top of that, starting in late January, the airlines got slammed by the travel restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and by people cancelling travel plans to avoid catching the coronavirus.

Today’s share-price losses of the seven largest US airlines by market capitalization ranged from -1.6% for United Airlines to -9.6% for Spirit Airlines (in order of market cap):

  • Delta Air Lines [DAL]: -2.8%
  • Southwest Airlines [LUV]: -2.3%
  • United Airlines [UAL]: -1.6%
  • American Airlines [AAL]: -7.7%
  • Alaska Air Group [ALK]: -7.7%
  • JetBlue Airways [JBLU]: -5.0%
  • Spirit Airlines [SAVE]: -9.6%

And here is my new – you guessed it – SADJAUS stock index (pronounced sad-jaus) of these seven largest US airlines, weighed by market cap. Kidding aside, their combined value has plunged 39% since the peaks in January 2018 and July 2017. This includes the 21% plunge so far in February, hitting the lowest point today since June 2016 (market cap data via YCharts):

The airlines are still flying deeper into turbulence. The official travel restrictions continue to spread, and fears of flying, or going anywhere crowded such as an airport, are now growing even in the US and people are starting to think about backing away from unnecessary domestic flights.

This will become a much larger issue once the virus starts taking off in the US, which we’re now told is almost guaranteed – and they’re telling us to prepare for it. Step one in preparing for it is to avoid going to crowded places where you could catch it, such as an airport or a plane.

We see this not only among our friends and acquaintances and coworkers that are cancelling travel plans, but also in an endless litany of corporate announcements of travel restrictions on their own employees and cancellations of corporate events, such as Facebook’s announcement today that it canceled its F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, scheduled for May.

People would fly in from all over the world on overpriced tickets, often charged to their expense accounts, to attend these events. But now the events – from mega-events that draw 100,000 attendees from around the globe to small  meetings – are getting cancelled one after the other around the world, and people aren’t going to fly to them.

The good thing, so to speak, for airlines is that the situation may get so bad that they might not need for a while the misbegotten 737 MAX planes that are grounded or that Boeing isn’t delivering, and Boeing is compensating them partially for the grounding of those planes.

The out-of-money moment is here. The party is over. But it sure was fund, so to speak, while it lasted. Read… Unicorns & Non-Unicorns Hung Out to Dry: As SoftBank Licks its Wounds, Startup Funding Fizzles, Shutdowns & Layoffs Spread

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  73 comments for “Airline Stocks, Battered by Coronavirus & Boeing 737 MAX, Plunge to Four-Year Low

  1. Breamrod
    Feb 27, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    some things it seems do go to heck in a straight line! Wow what a 4 days this has been!

    • Cas127
      Feb 27, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      The thing about being priced to perfection and beyond, is that any little thing can trigger an implosion, since the underlying business numbers don’t support support the valuation.

      The higher you go up the PE ladder, the more probabilities shift against you.

      • chukulik
        Feb 28, 2020 at 12:05 pm

        “America vanquished” a la lasha Darkmoon… soooo sad.

  2. buda atum
    Feb 27, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    I’m not giving up yet. I hear talk of helicopter money in Hong Kong and rumours of it in Europe, and I have the feeling MAGA man would love it!

  3. Feb 27, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    “Cumulative Credit Losses”

    PS: me and the wife are enjoying the mugs while positively exposed to tail risk and watching the circus unfold :D

    • Feb 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      The mug with my favorite Friday-night brew in it always makes me smile, no matter what happens in the markets :-]

      • Unamused
        Feb 27, 2020 at 8:25 pm

        Keep an eye on those beer mugs while you watch the business news and you might just see them turning into shot glasses.

        • Frank
          Feb 27, 2020 at 10:17 pm

          Unamused, great comment made me really laugh. Nothing like a little black humor to lighten up your day.

        • Unamused
          Feb 28, 2020 at 6:28 am

          Thanks Frank, but I probably shouldn’t be making light of this downturn. It’s going to severely harm a lot of innocent bystanders. It’s always the children who suffer. The perpetrators are laughing all the way to the Caymans.

  4. Michael Engel
    Feb 27, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    1) Transatlantic cruises and flights became a curse.
    2) Someone put a spell on Boing a while ago. After reaching MAX$444 on Mar 2019, it blew up in midair for the second time.
    3) Dec 2018 low was Boing first sign of weakness. Feb 2020 is a Major
    sign of weakness.
    4) Boing will bounce back to the support line, but it might be a thud.
    5) Coronavirus, SPX is down 8.4% before any bounce.
    6) In Jan 2018 SPX plunged before the first bounce 11.8%.
    7) Every panic we forget about previous panics.
    8) This time its the end of the world : Bombardier was killed by BA.

  5. Unamused
    Feb 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Boeing’s self-inflicted problems have been dissected to the nth degree – including how it blew, wasted, and incinerated $43 billion in cash on share buybacks in six years

    One wonders how much of that $43 billion is borrowed money that they aren’t going to be able to pay back. I’d look up their quarterly reports but I’m fresh out of Maalox. If they had put that money into the company they probably could have saved it.

    It was nice of the administration to admit that the VP was put in charge of the covid-19 debacle because he didn’t have anything else to do, even if it’s no good for me as a recovering cynic. I found it interesting that the futures markets tanked while the DOTUS was speaking yesterday. Apparently investors were, how shall we say it, uninspired.

    If I feel the urge to turn tourist I’ll let Rudy Maxa take me and save the trouble of packing. I minimise my travel so have no need of airlines. Besides, I’m already there.

    Where can I get laughing lessons? Over the last couple of years I seem to have forgotten how it’s done.

    • GotCollateral
      Feb 27, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      >One wonders how much of that $43 billion is borrowed money that they aren’t going to be able to pay back.

      Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! They can join the 350 indexed HY rated companies and 337 indexed “IG” ones in the same situation… dumpster diving time soon :D

    • HowNow
      Feb 28, 2020 at 4:37 am

      Maybe this had something to do with the tanking of the futures mkt:

      “I found most of what he said a little incoherent,” Ezekiel Emanuel, special adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization – regarding the Trump’s press conference.

      There, now… this may not get you laughing, but maybe you cracked a smile.

      • Unamused
        Feb 28, 2020 at 12:51 pm

        Actually it made me cringe.

      • NBay
        Feb 28, 2020 at 6:40 pm

        Re Boeing:
        My North American Aviation/Rockwell International lobbyist uncle with his pocketed congress critters and his DC chapter of the Fighter Aces Association Pentagon pals would have Boeing on it’s feet in no time without him even leaving Hilton Head.
        Unfortunately they are all dead.
        We’ll see if they “make ’em like they used to”.

  6. Thomas Roberts
    Feb 27, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Just wait until the Olympics are cancelled. That will be good for airline stocks.

    But, a much bigger problem for airlines is that for every annual event or business meeting, even skipping a single year, could cause a switch to teleconferencing or to an internet stream. Already in the video game world, Nintendo and Sony are switching mainly to live stream product announcements. Many electronics companies will follow this route. For the business meeting world, after the collapse of the current fed printing schemes, many businesses might no longer feel they have the money to send all those executives on expensive trips. Even if they do, they will be much more likely to fly coach.

    • Suzie Alcatrez
      Feb 27, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      If one US based airline goes bankrupt, they will all go bankrupt as the value of airplanes will quickly becomes $0 as it did after 9/11. The Fed will have to step in with money.

      • char
        Feb 27, 2020 at 11:33 pm

        The share of the American market in total flying has gone down significantly. The danger is not only an American airline. Airplane prices also collapse if Asian or European airlines end up grounded

        • Mike G
          Mar 2, 2020 at 12:39 pm

          Watch China. Getting slammed harder than anywhere by Covfefe-19, lots of airlines with very murky financing, primed to implode like HNA and dump a lot of planes on the market. I wouldn’t want to be in the business of owning and leasing airliners for the next few years.

        • char
          Mar 3, 2020 at 9:39 am

          China is different. Planes are in the end behind the scene owned by the state. They want to keep flying in three years so they will keep them inside China. They could if the market really collapse dump them in the states that the West wants to see collapse.

          The problem is more the unhealthy airlines in the West and Third World.

          ps. I expect the Max to be grounded for even longer for mysterious reasons.

  7. RD Blakeslee
    Feb 27, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    All of a sudden (over the last few days, actually), “Investors” are discovering the difference between debt-sustained price and value, the latter based on a business’s prospects for real production of saleable goods and services

  8. Iamafan
    Feb 27, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    What’s the closest ETF tracking the SADJAUS index?

    • Feb 28, 2020 at 12:23 am

      As far as purely US airlines are concerned: none (that I know of). There are transportation ETFs and global airline ETFs and broader ETFs that have airlines in them, things like like. But if you just want the top US airlines, you have to build your or own “ETF” by buying the seven stocks in proportion of their market cap.

  9. Sporkfed
    Feb 27, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    This is the perfect cover for the FED to
    wean the Market off of QE and I think
    they take it. It will be up to Congress
    to stimulate the economy.

    • William Smith
      Feb 28, 2020 at 1:59 am

      Huh? Back off from QE & ZIRP insanity? What planet are you looking at? The response for the last decade to *anything* (bad or good) from all the central banksters has been to lower rates and increase QE. With all due respect, they will do precisely opposite to what you suggest. (I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not)

  10. Feb 27, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    It’s beyond me how these shares could have skyrocketed to $240 by March 2019

    $440 according to the graph

    • Feb 28, 2020 at 12:26 am

      Thanks for the typo alert. $440 in the chart is correct. And they’re still not at $240 :-]

  11. Anon1970
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    $240 by March 2019 which you write in paragraph 3, or $440 which you show on the graph? Is the stock price down 20% from March 2019 or just over 36% (my calculation)?

  12. former
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    It will be interesting to watch airliners

    OT:
    Wolf, congratulations on your short. I bailed out of small position two days before the waterfall started. Sigh! lol

    Gambling:
    Sort of, good fundamentals and numbers. Today I bought small position in this tanker: TNK

  13. Paulo
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    I was away from the news for two days and arrived home to witness obsequious Pence ‘to the rescue’. Okay people, grab your popcorn ’cause the show is just going to start. Are there any serious, qualified, capable, or approved leaders left in this administration? Nope, just sycophants.

    Is this the end of the World? No, but just like a 3 day soaker lets you know where houses should never have been built, nothing like a pandemic to blow up industries the World could do without. This includes most air travel, the cruise industry, and many sporting events. Disney World? Maybe people will start to read again and stay living within their means? I wonder if we’ll start to see empty stadiums in the near future?

    • Thomas Roberts
      Feb 27, 2020 at 10:37 pm

      Sports stadiums are already built and don’t require usually require huge maintenance “cleaning up is a much smaller deal”. We would likely see much less new sport stadiums constructions and upgrades. Sports stadiums are predominately filled with people who live in the same or nearby city. The ticket prices and as well as player salaries will likely drop. So all-in-all sports fans might benefit.

      Some other industries like cruises. BIG DROP.

      I don’t see people becoming readers, they will have to settle with alot more reruns; less new shows.

      In general I agree, I was expecting a long drawn out recession that would become a depression, as well as the implosion of much of asia; but, the coronavirus wants to get this show on the road.

  14. WES
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    Looking back, when Boeing moved their headquarters to Chicago, was probably the clue that the financial engineers had wrestled control of Boeing, from their aircraft engineers!

    Wolfe’s new SADJAUS index might well serve as a proxy for a Zombie Meter!

    Well at least for flying Zombies!

  15. Mean Chicken
    Feb 27, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    On the bright side, CO2 emissions will be reduced. Remember Boeing @ $65? I do, and the story was similar.

  16. Realist
    Feb 28, 2020 at 12:43 am

    I wonder about the impact this has on the aircraft leasing business ?

    • BEt
      Feb 28, 2020 at 1:49 am

      Boeing flew like Icarus to the sun on the wings of buybacks and a smaller float of only about 550million shares. Easier to levitate
      What goes up hard and fast comes down harder and faster

    • MC01
      Feb 28, 2020 at 6:08 am

      The two chief problems of leasing are these right now.

      The first is GECAS, the leasing arm of GE and the largest lessor in the world. Under Jeff Immelt’s enlightened leadership their portfolio collapsed from $34 billion to $26.5 between 2012 and 2019, at a time when the disorderly growth of Asian airlines was making everybody with an aircraft to lease a bundle. If you want a good argument for bringing back death by stoning, here it is.
      GE still has no plan on what to do with GECAS. The sensible option would be to kick out all the Immelt-Era yups (they can keep the cardboard box; that’s their severance package), replace them with industry experts, better if trained in-house, give them full powers and put GECAS back where it belongs. But the cancer of the corporate world, Goldman-Sachs, suggested that maybe chopping GECAS into bits and auctioning it off would be a better idea. Quick cash for GE… and big fees for them.

      The second is Avolon. Avolon was bought (all in cash!!!) and taken private back in 2015 by China’s HNA Group. in 2017 HNA bought CIT Group’s aircraft leasing division and merged it with Avolon, creating the third largest lessor in the world after GECAS and AerCap. Less than one year later HNA Group (or the caretakers nominated by the Chinese government) sold a 30% stake in Avolon to Japan’s Orix Corporation for $2.2 billion. HNA had (massively over)valued Avolon at $43 billion just one year before.
      Following the Covid-19 outbreak and the “support measures” announced by CAAC (Civil Aviation Authority of China) for Chinese airlines, the Chinese government announced it will finally nationalize HNA Group de jure. As part of this nationalization all of the group’s “aviation and aviation-related ventures” will be “disposed of”. This means Avolon as well.
      Who will buy Avolon and for how much is the big question here. Based on the Orix deal that 70% share should be worth something more than $5 billion. Literally peanuts given the size of Avolon’s fleet, and gives the idea of how desperate HNA’s financial conditions must really be.

  17. A
    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:09 am

    How’s your short doing Wolf?

    I slapped long-dated put options on UAL in early February and I’ve already tripled my investment.

  18. IanCad
    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:59 am

    Surely the writing was on the wall for Boeing back in 2016 when they put a man, whose favourite drink is Diet Mountain Dew and doesn’t put Mayonnaise on chicken sandwiches, in charge of the once great corporation.
    Never hire thin folk.

    • MC01
      Feb 28, 2020 at 7:54 am

      With all due respect, Boeing’s rot goes a long way back, before 2016.

      Scrapping the Y1 in favor of the 737MAX was a choice actually made in 2006, when Boeing got wind Airbus, whose engineering resources were stretched thin at the time, had a modest re-engined upgrade of the A320 family in the works.
      Both Airbus and Boeing took a ton of flak at the time for recycling two old designs at a time when the possibilities of completely new and far more advanced designs were becoming obvious, especially when it comes to wing design, but with no alternatives the industry had to take what was being offered and live with it. Airbus’ offering didn’t need to be perfect (and it isn’t), it only needed to be better than Boeing’s.

      Then we have the 747-8. In itself it’s an outstanding design, the pinnacle of four-engined jetliners, but it arrived at a time when that category was losing appeal. Lufthansa and Volga-Dneper made an absolute bargain with the -8 (and both absolutely love it) while Boeing will be forced to book huge losses on the program. Right now there are just 17 unfilled orders for the 747-8, all freighters. Boeing has already booked losses for about $1.5 billion, and it isn’t over yet.

      Things seem to be slightly improving though: through Embraer Boeing is designing a completely new twin turboprop regional airliner. That’s a great idea considering the ATR 42/72 and de Havilland Dash 8 are early 80’s designs, while the Chinese Xian 60 is a local derivative of the venerable Antonov An-24. The market for this stuff is just there, and the competition was taken aback.
      It remains to be seen how things will play out: as the saying goes a single swallow doesn’t mean is Springtime already.

      • IanCad
        Feb 28, 2020 at 9:12 am

        Of course you are quite correct and thanks for the insight.
        Nevertheless – heavier people live longer and are generally far better company than most of the scrawny type!

      • Realist
        Feb 28, 2020 at 11:32 am

        Boeing makes a loss with the 747-8, how big is Airbus loss with the 380 ? The 380 is at least mistimed and an engineering feat, but is the 380 a great design ?

        • MC01
          Feb 28, 2020 at 1:49 pm

          Airbus, despite being a public company, has never revealed how much the A380 project cost them and has only disclosed the list price for the aircraft, not what customers such as Emirates have effectively paid for their aircraft.
          To cut a long story short estimated losses on the A380 run between €4 billion and €9 billion. There’s a very good reason this project is considered one of the two crosses Airbus has to bear, the other being the snakebitten A400M military transport.

          Technically there’s nothing wrong with the A380. It’s an excellent passenger aircraft and a great feat of engineering.
          But practically it has a list of issues a mile long: it’s too difficult to fill to capacity (Emirates,the most successful operator, runs around a very problematic 70% capacity), it requires too large of a cabin crew, it’s expensive to insure, landing, parking and handling fees are prohibitive… and for its size it has a pretty small cargo capacity, the traditional curse of Airbus aircraft.
          That’s the reason Lufthansa tend to run their A380 (the result of a complicated political agreement to pad production numbers) on routes where passenger numbers are much more important than freight, such as Frankfurt-Mexico City, while the long range routes where cargo makes very good money (IE Frankfurt-Buenos Aires) are handled by 747’s.

          In many ways the A380 is the child of the 2000’s and high commodity prices: Emirates would have never signed that crazy contract with crude oil languishing around in the $50-70 range.

  19. Michael Engel
    Feb 28, 2020 at 4:46 am

    1) A gap down is a supply bar. The DOW never had such a large
    supply bar. What does such supply mean.
    2) Market makers might cook a Shakeout Day today, for sparrow traders. The DOW will gap lower at the open, move further down, but close near or above the open, leaving a long selling tail.
    3) The speed is really unusual. If today decline will be mild, adding 550 pt to the plunge, the DOW will drop nonstop about 4,300 pt from
    the top, or 14.6%, before a bounce. In Jan 2018 dropped 12.2% nonstop.
    4) Stoxx 600 plunged is 13.4%.
    5) The German DAX plunge is 13.9% at the open.
    6) The FTSE 100 had already a bounce, so it doesn’t count.
    7) SPX weekly might reach the top of the cloud @ 2,900, a drop of 490 pt
    or 14.5% before any bounce.
    8) If Shakeout Day will be delayed, the plunge will drill deeper towards Dec 2018 low. The self driving drop, without a rest stop, will be overextended.
    9) The cost of financing gov debt will drop. US 10Y @ 1.185 minus
    US 3M @ 1.456 = (-) 0.27%.
    10) WTI futures @ 45.6%, approaching support @ 42.41 from Mar 2016.
    11) Tesla will farm from the thermal winds.

    • sc7
      Feb 28, 2020 at 9:28 am

      Always find your posts interesting. Will be curious to see the narrative if we really do retest the Dec ‘18 lows as you suggest in #8.

  20. timbers
    Feb 28, 2020 at 6:04 am

    The internets are saying the Fed will cut rates on March 18, because the Fed has to cure the flue and make markets go up. Because that is it’s job, to make markets go up.

  21. Michael Engel
    Feb 28, 2020 at 6:32 am

    The Communist party modern vision : instead of comrades taking a shower together, the revisionist 1.4B people of the Republic of China are sick, dissected, lonely, oppressed and separated from each other under sycophant Xi.

  22. timbers
    Feb 28, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Nothing has changed except the markets are afraid the Fed won’t do it’s job. If the Fed does it’s job and the market see this, nobody will care about airline earnings or mistakes or if someone has the flu.

    The Fed’s job it to make stocks go up. When the markets see the Fed do it’s job, they will be happy again and everything will be normal and go up again. Everyone can release really bad earnings and make the wrong stuff like planes that crash and get the flu, and nobody will care because the stocks are going up.

    • VeryAmused
      Feb 28, 2020 at 7:49 am

      I hope this is sarcasm.

      If not you really need to read up on financial history, human psychology and the meaning of valuation.

      We have reached a moment where the fed is all but impotent.

      The fall and the ultimate response to it will be breathtaking.

      • Tim
        Feb 28, 2020 at 10:43 am

        PPT – Pandemic Protection Team – at the ready?

      • Harrold
        Feb 28, 2020 at 11:14 am

        I agree, there is nothing the Fed can do at this point. All of their levers are useless against this virus.

        The markets need an FDR or Churchill to hold some fireside chats to allay our fears. This of course will not happen as we have no such leaderh.

        • sierra7
          Feb 28, 2020 at 11:45 am

          Harrold and others:
          The virus is going to do the job the FED should have done long ago……….RIP

  23. David Hall
    Feb 28, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Remdesivir is being tested in China. It is an anti-viral vaccine. The rumors about this drug are good. Testing is being expanded. There is a report China is already manufacturing the drug. They may know something.

    China has claimed a falling number of new COVID-19 cases after authoritarian quarantine measures.

    Coronaviruses and flu viruses spread more slowly in warmer weather.

    A Fed cut can not cure viral pneumonia.

    Short sellers may hope for the collapse of society, but are often proven wrong.

    • Nicko2
      Feb 28, 2020 at 7:47 am

      At best, not a cure, but a palliative treatment.
      The virus appears to be spreading in warmer climates.

      • David Hall
        Feb 28, 2020 at 10:09 am

        The virus is contained in Singapore 60 miles north of the equator and there is no known epidemic in the southern hemisphere. Flu and corona viruses can not survive as long on hot surfaces as cold surfaces.

        I do not have much data from scientific studies, mainly inferences. The only results I have seen are from a US citizen tested with remdesivir who quickly healed. Initial results seem positive.

        China has claimed virus containment.

    • VintageVNvet
      Feb 28, 2020 at 9:01 am

      Seems clear enough this morning that China does know something DH:

      https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3051981/coronavirus-did-not-originate-wuhan-seafood-market-chinese

      Read elsewhere yesterday that it was common practice for lab animals to go to this market after use.

      We can hope that eventually we will get truth, even if just in a ”novel” type publication that Xi and pals seem to be OK with to make public what cannot ever be released officially. (Maybe getting a cut of profit from books?)

    • The artist formerly know as Marcus
      Feb 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      Remdesivir is not a vaccine. It is a nucleoside analog. Of the four letters of the genetic code (A,C,G,T), remdesivir mimics the A. Viruses need to copy their genetic information each time they make a new virus. Remdesivir gets inside the infected cell and the virus mistakenly uses remdesivir instead of Adenine (A) to copy its RNA genome. This mucks up viral replication.

      It’s likely that this drug will work because of its proven efficacy against similar viruses. Hopefully it will lessen the mortality of the infection by giving the immune system time to catch up with the virus.

      Fun fact: much of what we know about nucleoside analogs comes from HIV where these are critical drugs in treating the disease to prevent onset of AIDS. Just one of the countless ways that biomedical research has benefits across different fields.

      • NBay
        Feb 28, 2020 at 9:02 pm

        Amazing. So are Uracil and mRNA.

  24. Brant Lee
    Feb 28, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Evaporation. You can sing that to the tune of Carly Simons “Anticipation”. Already world markets have lost five trillion, mostly the cream of the FED and world banks latest rate drops and infusion. Let me know when the good times are over.

    • tommy runner
      Feb 28, 2020 at 10:47 am

      how bout covid-19, sung to d bowies tvc 15. look at what the tv has swallowed now iggy, feel free to move about the cabin.

  25. Donald Byrne
    Feb 28, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Once these things get cancelled and/or they start to go on line(conferences) there will be less and less live conferences. This is the nature of technology. This just hastened the move.

    • Harrold
      Feb 28, 2020 at 11:53 am

      That was also predicted after 9/11.

  26. Bobber
    Feb 28, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Boeing taking a big hit today. Lots more to come.

    I find it fascinating the Fed reserve is now forced to remove the Fed put. Through its thoughtless wealth effect policy, they’ve lulled investors into complacency, and now they must put the floor out from under investors because it’s clear the policy was erroneous. It’s time to restructure the Fed. They are currently a random if not counterproductive factor in markets, that creates much uncertainty.

    • timbers
      Feb 28, 2020 at 11:37 am

      Maybe we should rename it:

      The Federal Anti-Reserve?

      Meanwhile, the internets are saying it’s the Fed’s job to hold an emergency meeting ASAP to make markets go back up and cure the flu.

  27. timbers
    Feb 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    I just bought a cult film on blu ray made in Germany called “Hercules in the Haunted World” directed by Italian horror director Mario Bava. It’s a better encoding than the U.S. version.

    I hope the the Coronavirus doesn’t shut things down and delays it’s arrival.

    If the Fed doesn’t cure the flu with a coordinated central bank intervention to make stocks go back up, I might not get it on time because they might have to close Germany.

  28. Tim
    Feb 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    It’s being said that the Fed and other CBs will plan a co-ordinated effort on Sunday.

    I don’t see how this can work, though – who knows, we might even have real markets again, rather than CB poodles!

  29. Tony Fransenza
    Feb 28, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Wolf Richter, just when we thought the interest rate absurdity and manipulation on a colossal level was backtracking, it gets to new levels of delusion.

    When or how much longer do you think this will get to normal levels of interest rates 3%+ which is still low looking back decades and decades? As you stated in your previous posts this is destroying markets and capitalism causing risk levels out of control.

  30. Tonymike
    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Well, I for one hopes that no one sheds a tear for the airlines that have been gouging consumers for the better part of 20 years. They make BILLIONS on bag fees, change fees, and other fees and provide some of the worst service in the world. The bas*rds (JetBlue) just raised baggage rates last week with other airlines looking to get in on the mugging of passengers in the following weeks.

    Notice that NO american airline is in the top 10 of airlines ratings for service? Having flown in Asia last month, I find the lcc’s better than what we have in the country. I always look to take a foreign airline due to this when I can.

    The other issue is that there is always socialism for business and stark mean capitalism for the average citizen, as it relates to finance and BAILOUTS!!

    Remember this: https://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/21/rec.congress.airline.deal/
    15 BILLLION dollar bail out package for airlines post 9/11.

    So let the “unbiased” hand of the market destroy their stock prices and ignore them when they go hat in hand to congress to ask for a bailout again. They burned up their good will with consumers, so now let them eat the ashes.

    Friendly skies my a**.

    • Nodak65
      Feb 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Tonymike,

      Airlines were forced to land and no fly for several days ,,,, was your business or career told to cease business for several days following 9/11

      • char
        Feb 28, 2020 at 9:49 pm

        Revenue last year
        Alaska 9Bn
        Delta 47Bn
        Southwest 22Bn
        United 43Bn
        To lazy to find the other numbers but my estimate is the airlines had a revenue of $150Bn, but that is 2019 and not 2001. So 3Bn a week now so 15Bn then for not even a week in September seems to me a bit much for purely lost flight days (and 4 planes). Not that i think congress did anything wrong.

  31. Tonymike
    Feb 28, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Looks like the PPT is coming to the recuse of the market!! groan

  32. Pete in Toronto
    Mar 2, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Wolf,

    I meant to add this a comment to your previous article about Boeing’s share buybacks.

    In addition that cash, Boeing also paid out the following in common dividends:

    $2081.76 million in 2014
    $2438.74 million in 2015
    $2690.84 million in 2016
    $3382.88 million in 2017
    $3884.33 million in 2018
    $4629.11 million in 2019
    $19,107.66 million over 6 years. (I don’t have figures for 2013.)

    (Some of these dividends might have been re-invested; I don’t know.)

    That’s almost half again as much cash blown in addition to the buybacks!

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